Books Unread, Jokes Untold-the pursuit of life

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Parenting Fumble October 22, 2013

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 2:32 pm

I think it’s well established that I’m not very good at explaining the mysteries of the world to Weenut. When I was trying to explain God and how he was everywhere and all powerful, I might have made a comparison to Superman…

I was raised Catholic and we stopped going to church sometime before reconciliation. In general, I’m pretty agnostic. I don’t think any religion really has it right, except for the core belief that you should try to be a good person-although many religions seem to believe things that directly contradict that core belief. I don’t really believe the bible is more than a collection of fables. I don’t believe that there is some divine being that intervenes directly in people’s lives to perform miracles. I just can’t reconcile that with the randomly awful things that happen to perfectly good people and the evil that goes on unfettered every day around the world. At the same time, I don’t begrudge anyone religious beliefs that give them a framework with which to make sense of the world.

Still, I can’t say that in times of trouble and stress, I haven’t found myself turning to “prayer.” When I found out I was miscarrying years ago, many, many times the thought passed through my head “please, please god, do not let this happen on its own, please let me make it to the d&c next week.” When my dad was first diagnosed with cancer, I taught Weenut the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer adding on a round of “God bless Pepere, Memere, etc” to the end. There was comfort in the ritual, whether or not I really believed that god was up there changing the course of destiny. Plus, there is nothing wrong in teaching Weenut to be thankful for the people in his life.

Soooo, I don’t know, there are so many concepts that are just kind of embedded into my consciousness, whether or not I really, really believe there’s someone on the other side waiting to met out judgments at the end. When I pray/wish for something, I don’t know if I’m really throwing it out there to God, fate, the universe, whatever. And because I don’t really have a good handle on it myself, it makes it kind of hard to explain things to an inquisitive 5 year old. As was clearly evident in the conversation Weenut and I had last night.

Weenut: Why are there four seasons?
Me: I guess because mother nature designed it that way. (First thing that popped into my head. Now that I think about it, there is probably some perfectly valid scientific explanation having to do with the earth’s rotation, position relative to the sun, etc. I’m sure Christianity/the bible has some official explanation about god’s design as well.)
Weenut: Was she the first person?
Me: No, Adam and Eve were the first people. (QUICKSAND, MIXING METAPHORS, I am so bad at this).
Weenut: But how did they live if there was nothing else here and no other people? What did they eat?
Me: Well there were fruits and vegetables and nature and stuff. (And a poisoned apple. Why is this so complicated).
Weenut: Well then who made nature?
Me: (Abort! Abort! Getting too complicated! Misdirection needed) Something nonsensical mumbling and then Hey! Time for dessert!


The Great Kgar Debate March 1, 2013

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 2:27 pm

Weenut will be five in July. By April, we need to decide if we are sending him to public kindergarten or not. Originally the plan was no, absolutely not. We don’t want him to be one of the youngest, smallest kids in his class, in a city where a lot of people “red shirt” for the asinine reason of giving their non-summer birthday kid a leg up in sports when they get to high school (WTF?). Additionally, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from other parents of summer bdays and educators who say, that yes, maturity-wise/socially nobody has ever regretted holding a kid back and the kids that aren’t held back are still easily identifiable as the youngest of their class even into high school by their social immaturity. But as we get closer, the logistics of actually doing that seem totally impossible.

If I were a stay at home mom, it’d be an easy no brainer. We’d just stay home for another year baking cookies and going on playdates and then enroll in Kgar when he’s 6. He’d never know the difference and neither would his peers. Or if he’d just been born in October or November and we wouldn’t even have to worry about it.

Either of those would have been ideal. That would be ideal. But I’m not a stay at home mom, and I don’t have a time machine to go back and retime his conception, so those are out. Unfortunately/Fortunately, because we have him in a curriculum based daycare, he’s progressed along their standard age lines, and has spent the past year preparing for Kgar. They’ve been practicing writing letters and numbers all year and are now moving into reading and math. He writes pretty well for four. He continually startles me with his sight reading skills. He’s used to the whole classroom drill of expected behavior, transitioning through tasks with the group, etc. In short, he’s more than ready for Kgar. I went to an orientation meeting last week which confirmed that he’s already well past our district’s minimum expectations for Kgar entry. (One of them is just that they RECOGNIZE, not even be able to write, just 21 out of the 26 letters of the alphabet-thefuck?)

So what to do with him that intervening year that we feel so strongly about him needing from a social standpoint? He can’t stay in the daycare’s pre-K class. He can move on to their private full day Kgar, and then repeat public school half day Kgar when he is six. But I have concerns about this plan on a couple fronts. Socially, he will see most of his peers moving on to the exciting new public school, riding the bus, etc., while he’s left behind with a handful of other kids doing private kgar. Throughout his full day Kgar class, the morning and afternoon sessions of public Kgar will be mixed in. So there will be plenty of opportunity for the inevitable ostracism that can come from being left behind. I’m already seeing some manifestations of mean kid bullshit coming home and in mama bear mode at the thought of it being directed at my preshus snowflake. And how will that escalate the following year when even more of those peers move on even further to go 1st grade (most of the other full day Kgar kids will go into 1st grade) and he’s repeating Kgar again? And then of course, there’s the academic worry. If he’s more than ready for Kgar now, how bored is he going to be doing Kgar again?

We could just roll the dice and do full day Kgar next year, and leave the decision about repeating it the next year open-he will technically be ready to go on to 1st grade with his peers if we want him to, but then we’re back to him being the youngest/smallest throughout the rest of his school years.

The other option I’m thinking about is moving him to another full day pre-K program with a new group of peers. That removes the social stigma of “staying back” and if we do a more pre-K oriented program he’ll get kind of an academic break and not be so far ahead when we put him in public Kgar the following year.

I say “I’m thinking about” because I haven’t even broached this topic with Miguel although the clock is ticking. He is a very black and white thinker; for someone so into academia and critical thinking, surprisingly opposed to carefully thinking through everyday decisions, weighing pros and cons. He wants to make a gut level decision, and move on. And as someone who was an August birthday, and therefore one of the youngest and smallest in his class, his gut level decision on this is that he wants Weenut to be six. But he doesn’t want to put any thought into the everyday ramifications of getting from our current point A to point B. Meanwhile I feel sick to my stomach with stress as I’m writing this. I am completely conflicted and stuck in my head. So I want to be clear in my mind before I broach the topic with Miguel.

I made an appointment for next week to see the other daycare option. Hopefully that will help me gain some clarity on the right direction. Of course, I’d hoped that about the Kgar orientation and came out of there even more conflicted.


Breathe April 17, 2012

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 2:08 pm

Life is very packed and overwhelming lately. My work has gotten very busy and stressful, as has Miguel’s. I’m often picking Weenut up later at daycare so that I can squeeze in an extra ½ hour or so at work. Which is easy to justify when I get there at 3:00 and am greeted by “But I wanted to stay for snnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaack.” WOE. “I wanted to play outttttttttttttside with my friends.” Which, thanks a lot.

I fought Friday airport traffic after a 3 day trip, rushed to pick him up and ended up having to drag him out of there screaming. I know he is only three, but it is hard not feel kicked in the gut when you’ve missed him so much and discover you’re less exciting than a pile of blocks he can play with every day.

Miguel is getting home later and we’re basically passing each other as we hand off Weenut duties-you get in a run, then I’ll trade you while I go out for a bike ride. Weenut’s bedtime routine, shower, get something to eat while Miguel checks his emails, then I get on the computer to work until after he’s gone to bed.

I hurt my foot running and biking is pretty much the only thing I can do until it heals. So my way to get my exercise done earlier in the afternoon with Weenut in tow is out the window. I’m in the worst shape I’ve been since losing all the Weenut baby weight. The number on the scale is not significantly higher, but everything is just soft and flabby. Guess it’s true what they say about muscle weighing more than fat.

Yesterday, as I was driving home thinking despairingly of all the things I had to do, how unhappy I was with how I look, how helpless I feel to change it while my body is all ganked up, and DOOM SPIRAL. I actually thought objectively, I am overdue for a giant life sucks ugly cry, which I haven’t indulged in for years.

I picked Weenut up on time, and we headed outside to play in the backyard in the gorgeous weather. As I was waiting for him to retrieve a ball, I saw last year’s dead container tomatoes, shoved into a corner of the yard. I don’t really have the time or inclination to get anything planted this year. I had wanted to build a raised bed in the back corner of the yard. My containers have struggled the last couple years because they’re not getting enough sun up by the house. “Next year,” I told myself. And then I immediately thought, “Will it really be any different next year? I will probably be just as stretched and stressed out…” and my chest started to tighten as the doom spiral started funneling down.

And then I caught sight of Weenut’s smiling face and I thought “What are you doing? What is the point of worrying about next year? You are here now. In the sunshine. Playing with this gorgeous, bright little boy who is getting so big so quick. Stop worrying about next year, next week, next hour. Enjoy this now.” Why is this so hard to remember to do?

Later, we were picking up the google-gillion pieces of his marble track and counting as we put them in the bag. He made it up to 29 by himself no problem but then he wanted to call the next piece 29-10. I corrected him and we counted 30, 31, 32 together until he grasped the pattern and continued by himself up to 39-10. So we started again at 40, 41…and then 50, 51…, etc. The look on his face when he was counting on his own, when he’d look to me uncertainly for confirmation as he said the next number and light up as he was figuring it out…just hard to find words to describe how amazing it is when you watch your child learn something, the comprehension and wonder and pride all galloping across his face in a split second. It’s one of those moments you wish you could freeze in time and never forget. (Also, there are 62 mother fucking pieces to that thing. I want to punch the person who gave it to him.)

Outside of that wonderment and awesomeness is the daily grind-the ugly parts of three with the incessant questions that blot out all coherent thought, the bouts of temper and defiance, the worry that we’re not doing enough, that we’re spoiling him. And on and on. That is a whole ‘nother post.


Just a small sampling April 5, 2012

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 2:52 pm

Of the actual conversations going on at my house. Nonstop. All day. Every day. Pass the wine.

Weenut: “What are you doing?”
Me: “Changing your sheets.”
Weenut: “Why?”
Me: “Because they are dirty.”
Weenut: “But why are they dirty?”
Me: “Because they just get dirty. You’ve been sick and they have germs on them.”
Weenut: “Oh… How do they get germs on them?”
Me (in my head): “For the love of god. Make it stop.”
Weenut: “How do they get germs on them?”
Me: fantasizing about a cone of silence surrounding me
Weenut: “Mom!How do they get germs on them?”
Me: “Because they just stick to them.”
Weenut: “But why do they just stick to them?”
Me: “They just do!”

In the car
Weenut: “What’s that pig doing?” Pointing to one of the “flying pig” charity art pieces outside his window.
Me: “Flying”
Weenut: “But why is he flying?”
Me: “Because that’s just what that pig does.”
Weenut: “Oh…What is that place where the pig is?”
Me: “An office building.”
Weenut: “What’s an office building?”
Me: “It’s somebody’s work.”
Weenut: “Who works there?”
Me: “I don’t know, just people.”
Weenut: “Oh…Why do they got to go to work?”
Me: “Because that’s just what grownups do!”
And on and on down the road.

I know, I know, he is just bright and curious and trying to learn and synthesize all this information about the world around him. But Mother of God, it’s hard to hear yourself think when you’re under a constant barrage of questions. Forget waterboarding. Let’s put terrorists in a room full of inquisitive preschoolers and see how long it takes before they break.


Weekend November 14, 2011

Filed under: Daily Grind,Getting my Martha On,Schmooper — booksunread @ 6:27 pm

How is it that I spent an hour plus in the grocery store, with a list, filled an entire cart to the brim and still managed to forget a number of key items? One of which was eggs. So yeah, no baking this weekend. I did manage to get the bulk of the shopping done, make and freeze sweet potatoes, dressing, an appetizer, a stash of sautéed onions for various recipes and some turkey sausage for lasagne next weekend.

And I ran one day and worked out the next. But I also went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel and to a Mexican place for dinner so I think that cancels it out. (The Weenut’s* reaction to CB’s giant roaring fire place? “FIRE! AHHHH!” So fire safety week at day care was apparently effective.)

Then the dryer broke. And the sump pump. WTF? Both are new since we bought the house five years ago.

Oh, and then we had arts and crafts homework for DAYCARE. They sent home two pieces of construction paper taped together with instructions to make a “Family Banner” by writing our name at the top and tracing and decorating each of our hands. And you know I couldn’t just scribble some shit on there with a crayon and call it a day, right? I must say I’m quite proud of my handprint turned flower pot. Weenut’s artistic vision needs some fine tuning as he just covered his with scribbles and Cars stickers. But he stayed in the lines, so win!

Another precious memory to record: My MIL bought him a totally age inappropriate but beautiful ABC popup book for his first Christmas. Each letter reveals an amazingly detailed die cut tableau of an animal that starts with that letter. I’ve just finally started reading it with Weenut, at bedtime, when I can stop him from ripping the heads off the Okapi and Quetzal. Anywho, as we went through it Friday night, he started asking me if they have each animal at the zoo. (Although he skipped it on dinosaur, was just waiting to have to explain that one. Unconscious genius, I tell you.) When we got to panda and I was struggling to remember if our zoo had any, and started to answer, yes, he cut me off and said “No, they’re ‘in danger.’” I guess I’m getting my money’s worth out of the day care or my cable bill, because I certainly didn’t teach him that.

*Like I said, squidgy doesn’t really work now, so Weenut it is, because he’s still my little peanut weenut even if he’s not a squidgy baby any more. What? Shut up?


Chick Chick November 10, 2011

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 2:16 pm

“Chick Chick is my baby. My teeny, tiny little baby,” he declares as he cradles the stuffed toy in his arms. “Awwww. She’s sooo cute!” he continues.

Three is pretty cool. The random flashes of wisdom beyond his years. The memory like an elephant, especially for the things you’d wish he’d forget. His exclamations of “Oh CRASH!” as a train topples off the track that we at first heard as “Oh CRAP!” The role play and pretending. Last night we were playing cars and he said to me “You’re my sister. C’mon sister, let’s drive over here and have a race!”

On the flip side, three is pretty annoying. The stubbornness that doesn’t respond to any threats of punishment. He’ll tell you “I don’t want to watch Chuggington ANYWAY! AT ALL!” as he pouts. The big fat crocodile tears that he calls up when he doesn’t get his way. The continuing shitty eating, now with the maddening “I only like school rice/pizza/pasta.”

But, oh. Even when he’s kind of being an asshole, he’s still “sooo cute.” It’s all slipping by so fast (and yet the next 15ish years of raising him seem like a really long time) and I miss using this space to record it all. So for the fifty frillionth time, committing to writing again.


Forcing Myself to Write June 27, 2011

Filed under: Daily Grind,Getting my Martha On,Schmooper — booksunread @ 12:29 pm

Boy, that sounds fun. Force yourself to read along with me, won’t you?

I don’t really have anything witty, intelligent or even interesting to share today.  I just want to kind of shake the dust off and get back in to the habit of writing again.

Work has calmed down to some extent, but I still should be working that rather than doing this.

Outside work, I’m busily planning a 3rd birthday party. THIRD. Am enjoying the fun of getting my Martha on. For now. Ask me again when I have 4 dozen cupcakes and cookies to bake, eight wooden model trains to assemble, a pile of treat bags to collate, balloon garland to string and two days to do it in.

I think my little guy needs a new name, “Squidgey” doesn’t seem to fit any more.  But I can’t think of anything better right this second. Whatever you call him, I lurve him a bit more every single day, which I didn’t think was possible.  He is at such a great age-a real little person with thoughts and some grasp of logic and critical thinking.  Mostly, he’s well behaved, and when he’s not, it is written all over his face that he is just testing you.  He looks at you as he’s doing something naughty, and you can just tell he is thinking, “What will you do if I do this?”

Back in March we moved him from his home sitter to a daycare center. And the things he learns, being in a curriculum-based environment with all kids right about his own age, are just amazing. Not all of it’s good-the other day he told me peas would hurt his tummy if he ate them. He had to have picked that up from a classmate with older siblings. And that fake little “hmph” he does when he doesn’t get his way now-clearly that seems to be working for one of his little friends so he thought he’d see how it goes over at home (answer: mommy is not moved at all, now do what I asked you to do).

But mostly he is sunny and loving and just a touch mischievous. Every night before bed now, instead of reading books, he wants to “talk about [his] day.”  I don’t want him to ever grow out of asking me to snuggle him up when I tuck him in at night, offering me one last kiss through the bars of his crib. (Yes, He is still in the crib, we have a tall piece of furniture that needs to be wall anchored before we turn him loose, plus, not going to lie, there is a measure of peace in knowing that even if he is not napping, he’s at least confined to bed, where he has a much better chance of falling asleep.)